Overview

Manet came from a well–to–do family, and this painting provides a glimpse of the sophisticated Parisian world he loved. He was uncomfortable in the countryside, preferring instead the finery of the city. These elegant men and coquettish young women are attending a masked ball held each year during Lent. "Imagine," ran a description in the newspaper Figaro, "the opera house packed to the rafters, the boxes furnished out with all the pretty showgirls of Paris. . . . " There is little doubt about the risqué nature of the evening, where masked young women, likely respectable ladies concealing their identities, scantily clad members of the Parisian demimonde, and well–dressed young men all mingle together.

Manet sketched the scene on site, but painted it over a period of months in his studio. He posed several of his friends—noted writers, artists, and musicians—and even included himself in the crowded scene. He is probably the bearded blond man at right who looks out toward the viewer. At his feet, a fallen dance card bears the painter's signature.

At the edges of the horizontal painting—a format Manet used often—figures end abruptly. At top, legs dangle over a railing. In contrast to the self–contained compositions of academic art, we are instantly aware that we see only a part of the scene and that it extends beyond the picture frame.

Inscription

lower right: Manet

Marks and Labels

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Provenance

Jean-Baptiste Faure [1830-1914], by 1873; (Faure sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 29 April 1878, no. 40, bought in); Jean-Baptiste Faure until at least 1884. (Durand-Ruel et Cie, Paris and New York); sold 16 January 1894 to Henry Osborne Havemeyer [1847-1907], New York;[1] by inheritance to his wife, née Louisine Waldron Elder [1855-1929], New York; by inheritance or gift to Mrs. Horace Havemeyer [née Doris Anna Dick, 1890-1982]; gift 1982 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1884
Exposition Manet, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1884, no. 69.
1895
Exposition of Paintings by Edouard Manet, Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York, 1895, no. 29.
1960
Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1960, no. 62.
1962
Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1962, no. 38.
1982
Manet and Modern Paris, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1982-1983, no. 39, repro.
1983
Manet, Grand Palais, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1983, no. 138, repro.
1990
Französische Impressionisten und ihre Wegbereiter aus der National Gallery of Art, Washington und dem Cincinnati Art Museum, Neue Pinakothek, Munich, 1990, no. 24, repro.
1993
Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1993, no. 357, pl. 196.
1994
Paris in 1874: The Year of Impressionism, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 1994, no. 79, repro.
1998
Manet, Monet, and the Gare Saint-Lazare, Musée d'Orsay, Paris; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1998, no. 26, fig. 140.
2004
Faces inthe Crowd: Picturing Modern Life from Manet to Today, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London and Castello di Rivoli, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Turin, 2004-2005, 58-63, unnumbered catalogue.
2010
Bilder einer Metropole: Die Impressionisten in Paris (Images of a Capital - The Impressionists in Paris), Museum Folkwang, Essen, 2010-2011, no. 45, repro..
2011
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The National Art Center, Tokyo; Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, 2011, no. 26, repro.
2013
Manet : ritorno a Venezia, Palazzo Ducale, Venice, 2013.

Bibliography

1874
Mallarmé, Stéphane. "Le jury de peinture pour 1874 et M. Manet." Renaissance artistique et littéraire (12 April 1874): 155-157; published in Stéphane Mallarmé Oeuvres complètes, Paris, 1945: 695-700.
1876
Claretie, Jules. L'Art et les artistes française contemporains. Paris, 1876: 259-260.
1902
Duret, Théodore. Histoire d'Edouard Manet et de son oeuvre.Paris, 1902: no. 153, repro.
1906
Duret, Théodore. Histoire d'Edouard Manet et de son oeuvre. Paris, 1906: 142-145.
1910
Duret, Théodore. Manet and the French Impressionists. Translated by J.E. Crawford Flitch. London and Philadelphia, 1910: 68-69, 233, no. 153.
1912
Blanche, Jacques-Emile. Essais et portraits. Paris, 1912: 154-155.
1912
Hourticq, Louis, Jean Laran and Georges Le Bas. French Artists of Our Day: Edouard Manet. Philadelphia and London, 1912: 59-60, repro.
1912
Meier-Graefe, Julius. Edouard Manet. Munich, 1912: 212-218, repro.
1919
Blanche-Jacques-Emile. Propos de Peintre: De David à Degas. Paris, 1919: 133.
1919
Duret, Théodore. Histoire de Edouard Manet et de son oeuvre. Paris, 1919: 109-115, no. 153.
1926
Moreau-Nélaton, Etienne. Manet, raconté par lui-même. 2 vols. Paris, 1926: II: 7-12, 47, 114. repro. fig. 175, no. 69.
1931
Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture, and Objects of Art, Part II, Paintings and Pastels, Collections of the Havemeyer Family, privately printed for Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1931:404, repro.
1931
Tabarant, Adolphe. Manet: histoire catalographique. Paris, 1931: 250, no. 203.
1932
Jamot, Paul and Georges Wildenstein. Manet. 2 vols. Paris, 1932: I: no. 219, repro.
1932
Meier-Graefe, Julius. "The Manet Centenary" Formes XXIV (April 1932): 251-253.
1937
Colin, Paul. Manet. Paris, 1937:119.
1939
Venturi, Lionello. Les archives de l'impressionnisme. 2 vols. Paris and New York, 1939: II:205
1941
Jedlicka, Gotthard. Edouard Manet. Erlenbach and Zurich, 1941: 167-171, repro.
1947
Florisoone, Michel. Manet. Monaco, 1947:XIV
1947
Tabarant, Adolphe. Manet et ses oeuvres. Paris, 1947: 232-234.
1954
Hamilton, George Heard. Manet and His Critics. New Haven, 1954: 175+, repro. 30.
1955
Bataille, Georges. Manet. Translated by Austryn Wainhouse and James Emmons. Lausanne, 1955: 95, repro.
1958
Richardson, John. Edouard Manet: paintings and drawings. London, 1958: 31.
1961
Havemeyer, Louisine B. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961: 218.
1965
Sutton, Denys. "The Discerning Eye of Louisine Havemeyer." Apollo 82 (September 1965): 232.
1967
Orienti, Sandra. L'opera pittorica di Édouard Manet. Milan, 1967: no. 188, repro.
1968
Bodelsen, Merete. "Early Impressionist Sales 1874-94 in the light of some unpublished 'procès-verbaux'." The Burlington Magazine 110 (June 1968): 341.
1968
Maur, Karin V. "Edmond de Goncourt et les artistes de la fin du XIXe siècle." Gazette des Beaux-Arts ser. 6, vol. 72 (November 1968): 209-228. repro. fig. 2.
1970
Orienti, Sandra. The Complete Paintings of Manet. London, 1970: no. 188, repro.
1971
Becker, George J. and Edith Philips, eds. Paris and the Arts, 1851-1896: From the Goncourt Journal. Ithaca and London, 1971: 133.
1974
Callen, Anthea. "Faure and Manet." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 83 (March 1974): 162.
1975
Rouart, Denis and Daniel Wildenstein. Edouard Manet, catalogue raisonné 2 vols. Lausanne and Paris, 1975: no.216.
1977
Hanson, Anne Coffin. Manet and the Modern Tradition. New Haven and London, 1977:42
1980
De Leiris, Alain. "Manet and El Greco: 'The Opera Ball.'" Arts Magazine LV (September 1980): 95-99, repro.
1980
Kelder, Diane. The Great Book of French Impressionism. New York, 1980:116-118, repro.
1981
Orienti, Sandra. Edouard Manet Werkverzeichnis. Frankfurt am Main, c. 1981: no. 166a.
1982
Isaacson, Joel. "Impressionism and Journalistic Illustration." Arts Magazine 56, no. 10 (June 1982): 105, repro.
1982
Weitzenhoffer, Frances. The Creation of the Havemeyer Collection, 1875-1900. Ph.D. diss., The City University of New York, 1982: 225,-226, 244 n. 6, no. 61.
1983
Nochlin, Linda. "A Thoroughly Modern Masked Ball." Art in America 71, no. 10 (November 1983): 188-201, repro.
1983
Nochlin, Linda. "The Imaginary Orient." Art in America 71, no. 5 (May 1983): 125, repro. 127.
1984
Stuckey, Charles F. "Degas as an Artist: Revised and Still Unfinished." In Guillard, Maurice, ed. Degas form and space. Paris, 1984: 33, repro.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 450, no. 652, color repro.
1985
House, John. Impressionist Masterpieces, National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1985: 30, repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 247, repro.
1986
Adler, Kathleen. Manet. Oxford, 1986: 156-161, repro. 149.
1986
Weitzenhoffer, Francis. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America, New York, 1986: 98, 101-102, 176, repro.
1987
Borowitz, Helen O. "No Strings: Some New Sources for Manet's Pulichinelles." Nineteenth-Century French Studies15. no. 4(Summer 1987): 425-451, repro.
1989
Distel, Anne. Les collectionneurs des impressionnistes. Amateurs et marchands. Paris, 1989:78, repro.
1989
Nochlin, Linda. The Politics of Visions: Essays on Nineteenth-Century Art and Society. New York, 1989: 75+, repro.
1990
Französische Impressionisten und ihre Wegbereiter aus der National Gallery of Art, Washington und dem Cincinnati Art Museum, Exh. cat. Neue Pinakothek, Munich, 1990: no. 24, repro.
1991
Coman, Florence E. Joie de Vivre: French Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1991: no. 10, repro.
1991
Darragon, Eric. Manet. Paris, 1991: 237, 280, repro. 162.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 9, 297, color repro.
1991
Wilson-Bareau, Juliet, ed. Manet by Himself: Paintings, Pastels, Prints, and Drawings. London, 1991: repro. 157.
1992
Carr-Gomm, Sarah. Manet. London, 1992: 106, repro.
1992
Feist, Peter H. Malerei des Impressionismus 1860-1920. 2 vols. Cologne, 1992: 1: 110, repro.
1992
Stevenson, Lesley. Manet. New York, 1992: 121, repro.
1993
Manoeuvre, Laurent. Manet-Paris. Paris, 1993: 44, repro.
1993
Perutz, Vivien. Edouard Manet. London and Toronto, 1993: repro. 43.
1994
Rubin, James H. Manet's Silence and the Poetics of Bouquets. Cambridge, 1994: repro. 34.
1995
Callen, Anthea. The Spectacular Body: Science, Method and Meaning in the Work of Degas. New Haven and London, 1995:70, repro.
1997
Bailey, Colin B. Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age. Exh. cat. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, in association with National Gallery of Canada Ottawa, 1997:no. 74, repro.
1997
Kelder, Diane. The Great Book of French Impressionism, 1997, no. 95, repro.
1998
Galligan, Gregory. "The Self Pictured: Manet, the Mirror, and the Occupation of Realist Painting." Art Bulletin LXXX no. 1 (March 1998): 157, repro.
1998
Manet, Monet, and the Gare Saint-Lazare. Exh. cat. Musée d'Orsay, Paris; National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1998: no. 26.
2003
Mena Marqués, Manuela B. Manet en el Prado. Exh. cat. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2003: 91, repro.
2013
Alsdorf, Bridget. Fellow Men: Fantin-Latour and the Problem of the Group in Nineteenth-Century French Painting. Princeton, 2013: 193, 197-198, color plate 28.
2013
Harris, Neil. Capital Culture: J. Carter Brown, the National Gallery of Art, and the Reinvention of the Museum Experience. Chicago, 2013: 246, 248.
2014
Duve, Thierry de. “The Invention of Non-Art: A History.” Artforum 52, no. 6 (February 2014): 198, 199, color fig.

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